The Houston/Galveston National Weather Service Office just recently released their top 10 weather events that occurred from 2010 to 2019. Although it included an extreme drought, a Christmas Tornado, and an Ice Storm, the overwhelming theme was Flooding. And not just flooding, record breaking after record breaking flooding.
Below is the complete list by the Houston/Galveston NWS Office.
No. 1 – Hurricane Harvey (2017)
(FLOOD / TORNADOES)
For the Brazos River, Hurricane Harvey became the record flood through portions of Waller, Austin, Fort Bend, and Brazoria Counties. The Brazos River at the Richmond Gage hit Gage Elevation 55.19 feet on September 2017 causing severe damages to numerous structures. In addition to the Brazos River Flooding, many homes and business would be flooded from other streams and drainage systems including record flooding upstream and downstream the Barker and Addicks Reservoirs.
Besides the actual damages, one of the most unfortunate results of Hurricane Harvey was the miss-perceptions it created with flood insurance. I lost count how many residents I have met and continue to meet, that use Harvey as the reason for NOT purchasing flood insurance…
“If I survived Harvey then I will never flood”Various Residents Not Flooded in Harvey
But what most of these residents miss is that although Fort Bend County received over 30 inches of rain, the highest rainfall came in at 60.58″. Our story could have been dramatically different with an additional 30+ inches on the Brazos River as well as many of our local drainage systems and smaller streams. The May 7, 2019 events would end up flooding several homes and businesses across Fort Bend County that were not damaged by Hurricane Harvey. What those storms showed residents is that the volume is not the only critical component when evaluating flood risk. The intensity, or how quickly rainfall occurs, can be just as, or even more devastating.
No. 2 – Tropical Storm Imelda (2019)
Similar, to the May 7, 2019 event, Tropical Storm Imelda would not only damage many structures that were also damaged during Harvey, but it would also flood many homes and business that were not damaged during Harvey.
No. 3 – Tax Day 2016
The Tax Day event would cause significant damages across the region as well as caused elevated levels along the Brazos River. Due to the rain received, the Brazos River in Richmond would hit Gage Elevation 49.67 feet. The Tax Day Flood would be the 6 highest recorded elevation on the Brazos River in Richmond until the 2016 and 2017 events dropped the Tax Day Flood to the 8th highest.
No. 3 – Halloween Severe Weather
(FLOOD / TORNADOES)
No. 5 – Memorial Day 2015
For the Brazos River, the 2015 Memorial Day event would almost tie the 1994 Flood Event, which was the post-reservoir record flood until 2016 and 2017. In Richmond, the Brazos River hit Gage Elevation 50.01 on June 3, 2015 which was only 0.29 feet lower than the 1994 Event.
No. 6 – Memorial Day 2016
For the Brazos River, the Memorial 2016 event would become the flood of record on the Brazos River, which was short lived thanks to Hurricane Harvey. The Brazos River in Richmond hit Gage Elevation 54.74 feet on June 2, 2016. It would cause the first major flooding on the Brazos River through portions of Waller, Austin, Fort Bend, and Brazoira Counties since the 1994 flood.
No. 7 – Severe Drought (2011)
No. 8 – March 4th Ice Storm (2014)
No. 9 – 2015 Webster Flooding
No. 10 – Christmas EF-3 Tornado
Make 2010 – 2019 Lessons Learned
a 2020 Resolution
If you only learn one thing from this list, that should be Flood Insurance is the best way to protect yourself from flooding. As I have posted before,
Just 1 inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home. If you do not currently have flood insurance, how prepared are you for an unexpected $25,000 expense to repair your home? We never know when the next flood will occur so plan ahead and start your preparations now. For more information, please visit NWS Flood Safety, Ready.gov, and FloodSmart.gov.